We have seen that the apprehension of reality is sentient intellection. We have concentrated on the question of what it is to be sentient; the answer is, to apprehend something in an impression. Later we shall examine what intellection is: briefly, it is the apprehension of something as real. The sentient intelligence is, then, impressive apprehension of the real, i.e. the impression of reality. But in this way, we have conceptualized sentient intelligence only in virtue of its intrinsic structure. Now we must ask ourselves what sentient intellection is, not in virtue of its structure, but with respect to the formal essence of its act. What is sentient intellection as such, and what is its formal nature? It is to this formal nature that I here give the name ‘essence’ in an unqualified way. What, then, is the essence of sentient intellection?

Upon formulating this question, we immediately sense that we have in some ways returned to Chapter I. There we were asking about the act of intellection. The reply was: it is an act of apprehension. Apprehension, I said, is the moment in which the thing intellectively known is present in {134} the intelligence. And this being sentiently present is what constitutes human apprehension of reality. Now let us take one more step: Formally, what is this being present in sentient intellection? To be sure, these questions overlap somewhat; hence, some repetition is inevitable. But it is not simply repetition, because now we have a different point of view.

We consider sentient intellection as an act of being present. What is this act? That is the question.

Let us proceed first in a negative fashion, i.e., let us say what this act is not. In this endeavor, let us ignore for the time being the sentient aspects of the act and limit ourselves to its intellective aspects.

Above all, intellection is not an act which intellectively known things produce in the intelligence. Such an act would be an actuation. It is what, in a very graphic way, Leibniz called communication of substances. Thus, for Plato and Aristotle the intelligence would be a tabula rasa, or as they said an ekmageion, a wax tablet on which there is nothing written. What is written is written by things, and this writing would be intellection. Such is the idea running through almost all of philosophy until Kant. But that is not intellection; it is at best the mechanism of intellection, the explanation of the production of the act of intellection. That things act upon the intelligence is quite undeniable; but it is not in the way that the Greeks and Medievals thought. Rather, it is by way of "intellective impression". But that is not the question with which we are now concerned. We are only asking about the result, so to speak, of that actuation: the formal essence of the act. The communication of substances is a theory, but not the analysis of a {135} fact. The only fact we have is the impression of reality.

Modern philosophy, as I said, has attended more to the act of intellection in itself than to its production. To be sure, it has done so with a radical limitation: it has thought that intellection is formally knowledge. But for now, we leave this point aside and concentrate on knowledge qua intellection. It is obvious that in intellection, the object understood is present. Now, this general idea can be understood in different ways. One could think that the being present consists in what is present being put there by the intelligence in order to be known intellectively. Being present would be "actually being put there". Of course, this does not mean that the intelligence produces what is known intellectively. Here, position in the sense of "being put" means that what is known intellectively, in order to be so, must be "put before" the intelligence. And it is the intelligence which does this "putting before" or "proposition". That was the idea of Kant. The formal essence of intellection would then consist in positionality. But it is also possible to think that the essence of being present is not being "put", but in being the intentional terminus of consciousness. That was the idea of Husserl. Intellection would be only a "referring myself" to what is known intellectively, i.e., it would be something formally intentional; the object itself of intellection would be the mere correlate of this intention. Strictly speaking, for Husserl intellection is only a mode of intentionality, a mode of consciousness, one among others. Taking this idea one step further, one could think that the being present is formally neither position nor intention, but unveiling. That was the idea of Heidegger. But intellection is not formally position, intention, or unveiling, because in any of these forms what is known intellectively "is here-and-now present" in the intellection. Now, whether it be present by position, by {136} intention, or by unveiling, the being here-and-now present of what is "put there", of what is "intended", and of what is "unveiled" is not formally identical to its position, its intention, or its unveiling. None of these tells us in what the "being here-and-now present" consists. Position, intention, and unveiling are, in the majority of cases, ways of being here-and-now present. But they are not the being here-and-now present as such. What is put there, "is" put there, what is intended, "is" intended; what is unveiled, "is" unveiled. What is this "being here-and-now"? Being here-and-now present does not consist in being the terminus of an intellective act, regardless of its type. Rather, "being here-and-now present" is a proper moment of the thing itself; it is the thing which is. And the formal essence of intellection consists in the essence of this being here-and-now present.

Let us correctly pose the question. Sentient intellection is impressive apprehension of something as real. Thus the proper part of the real as known intellectively is to be present in the impression of reality. Now, this being present consists formally in a being present as mere actuality in the sentient intelligence. The formal essence of sentient intellection is this mere actuality.

Such is the idea which it is now necessary to clarify in a positive way. In order to do so we shall ask:


1. What is actuality?

2. What is actuality as intellective?

3. What is actuality as sentient?

4. Synoptically, what is actuality in sentient intellection? {137}





The expression ‘actuality’ and what is conceptualized by it tend to obscure an ambiguous point which it is necessary to bring out and clarify. What traditionally has been called "actuality" (actualitas by the Medieval philosophers) is the character of the real as act. And they understood by act what Aristotle called energeia, i.e., the fullness of the reality of something. Thus, to say that something is a dog in act means that this something is the fullness of that in which being a dog consists. To be sure, for this general way of thinking, ‘act’ can mean "action" because action derives from something which is in act. To everything real, in virtue of having the fullness of that in which it consists in reality, and consequently, in virtue of its capacity to act, the expression "being real in act" was applied—a quite improper denomination. This characteristic should rather be called actuity: Actuity is the character of act of a real thing.

To my way of thinking, actuality is something quite distinct. Actuality is not the character of the act, but the character of the actual. Thus we speak of something which has much or little actuality or of what acquires and loses actuality. In these expressions we are not referring to act in the sense of Aristotle, but rather we allude to a type of physical presence of the real. Classical philosophy has not distinguished these two characteristics, viz. actuity and actuality. {138}

But as I see it, the difference is essential and of philosophic importance. Actuality is a physical moment of the real, but not in the sense of a physical note. The moment of act of a physical note is actuity. Its other moment is also physical, but is actuality. What is actuality? That is the question.

Let us proceed step-by-step.

1. Actuality has as its salient characteristic, so to speak, the being-here-and-now-present of something in something. Thus, when we say that viruses are something having much actuality, we mean that they are something which is today present to everyone. Here one can already perceive the essential difference between actuality and actuity. Something is real in act when it has the fullness of its reality. Viruses are always realities in act; nonetheless, their being present to everyone is not this actuity. Only a few years ago, the viruses did not have this here-and-now presence; they did not have actuality.

2. One might perhaps think that actuality is a mere extrinsic relation of one real thing to another; in the foregoing example, the relation of the viruses to the men who study them. But this is not necessarily always the case. There are times when the real is "making itself present". Thus we say that a person made himself present among others or even among inanimate things (thus man has made himself present on the Moon). This "making oneself" is already not mere extrinsic relation as the actuality of the viruses might be; it is something which carries us beyond pure presentiality. It is undeniably an intrinsic moment of a real thing; the person in question, in fact, is what makes himself present. In what does this intrinsic moment consist? It clearly consists in that his presence is something determined by the person {139} "from within himself". Thus, being a person is indifferent for our question, because every real thing has (or can have, we will not pursue the question) the character of being present from within itself. This "from within itself" is the second moment of actuality. Then we should say that actuality is the being present of the real from within itself. Through this moment, actuality carries us beyond pure presentness. Because in this "being present here-and-now" what confers its radical character upon actuality is not its presentness, nor the being here-and-now "present", but the "being here-and-now" of the present inasmuch as it is now present here. Let us make a comparison. A piece of wax on my table is dry. If I put it into a container of cold water, it continues to be dry; the water does not act by moistening it. But the immersion has established an actuality: dry is now formally the character of "not-moistened". Dryness has not been produced (actuity), but the actuality of the dryness has. I take this example only in a descriptive sense, with no reference to any physical explanation of moistening and non-moistening. Actuality is only the presence in this "being here-and-now". Actuality is not mere presentness, but what is present inasmuch as something "is now".

3. But this is not sufficient. A few lines above I said that any real thing has or can have the character of being present from within itself. The fact is that a real thing can be present or not be so according to its notes. But what is inexorable is that everything real in its formality of reality (and not just by its notes) is here-and-now present from within itself. This is a constitutive character of everything real.

Thus we have: being here-and-now present from itself by being real. This is the essence of actuality. When we impressively {140} sense a real thing as real we are sensing that it is present from within itself in its proper character of reality.

Classical philosophy has been a philosophy only of act and actuity; but a philosophy of actuality is urgently needed.

4. Actuality and actuity are not identical, but this does not mean that they are independent, because actuality is a character of the "being here-and-now". But, "to be here-and-now" is the very character of the real. The real "is" in the sense of "is here-and-now"; we shall see this in the following chapter. In the impression of reality, the formality of reality is, as we saw, a prius of apprehension itself. What is apprehended is "of its own", i.e., is de suyo in the apprehension but before the apprehension. It is apprehended though precisely as something anterior to the apprehension—which means, therefore, that the apprehension (as the actuality that is, as we shall forthwith see) is always and only of what is "of its own", i.e. actuality of reality, of actuity. Hence, every actuality is always and only actuality of the real, actuality of an actuity, a "being here and now in actuality". Whence actuality, despite being a distinct character of actuity, is nonetheless a character which is physical in its way. There is a becoming of the real itself according to its actuality which is distinct from its becoming according to its actuity. This does not mean that in this unfolding of actuality, formally considered, the thing acquires, loses, or modifies its notes; reality does not unfold as an act, but does unfold formally as actuality. It is true that things, in order to be actual, may have to act, i.e. acquire, lose, or modify notes. But such actuation is not that in which the actuality formally consists. {141} The unfolding of actuality is not formally an unfolding of actuity.

We can now discern the importance of what I just said. Among the thousand actualities which a real thing can have, there is one which is essentially important to us here: the actuality of the real in intellection. Thus we can understand at the outset the serious confusion of ancient philosophy: because having actuality is a physical character of the real, they thought that intellection was a physical action, a communication of substances. Those philosophers went astray on the matter of actuality. And this has been the source of all manner of difficulties. What is intellective actuality?





Intellection is actuality: this is what we must clarify. Intellection is formally and strictly sentient. Hence, it is fitting to analyze intellection as actuality in its two moments: the properly intellective and the sentient. Only after that will it be possible to clarify in a unified manner what sentient intellection is as actuality. In this section, then, we shall occupy ourselves with intellection as intellective actuality.

For this task it is necessary to clarify first what intellective actuality is as actuality, and second the proper nature of intellective actuality.

1. Intellection as Actuality. That what is known intellectively is present in the intellection is perfectly clear. This "in" is just "actuality", but it does not refer to things acting on the intellection. I am as yet ignorant of whether and how they act. But that things act is something which we can only describe basing ourselves on the analysis of the actuality of those things present in the intellection. The intellection of the actuation of things is only consequent upon the intellection of the real in actuality. The proper intellective moment comes into play by extremely complex structures and, therefore, by extremely complex actuations. But this just means that such actuation delimits and constitutes the real content of the intelligence as known intellectively. On the other hand, in the intellection itself this content is merely actualized. Actuation concerns the {143} production of the intellection; it does not concern the formal aspects of this intellection. Intellection is "being present here-and-now" in the intellection, i.e. it is actuality. And this is not a theory, but a fact. In order to manifest it I need only situate myself in the midst of any intellective act. Here we deal with an intellection, and therefore what is known intellectively is always apprehended in the formality of the de suyo, as something which is "of its own". This formality is, as I have just pointed out, a prius with respect to apprehension. Whence it follows that the apprehended real is real before being apprehended; i.e., the real, upon being now known intellectively, is present, is here-and-now in actuality.

Thus, in every intellection there are three structural moments that are important to our problem: actuality, presentness, and reality. It is necessary to dwell a bit on this structure in order to preclude false interpretations.

a) In the first place, actuality is not a relation or a correlation. Intellection is not a relation of the intelligent being with the things known intellectively. If "I see this wall", that vision is not a relation of mine with the wall. On the contrary: the relation is something which is established between me and the wall which is seen; but the vision itself of the wall is not a relation, but something anterior to any relation. It is an actuality, I repeat, in the vision itself, given that it is in the vision "in" which I am here-and-now seeing the wall. And this vision as such is actualization. Actuality is more than a relation; it is the establishment of the things related. Actualization, in fact, is a type of respectivity. Nothing is intellectively actual except with respect to an intellection. And this actuality is respectivity, because the formality is of reality and, as we have seen, this formality is constitutively open qua formality. {144} The intellective actuality, then, is in the primary sense grounded upon the openness not of intellection, but of the formality of reality. The openness of intellection as such is grounded in the openness of its proper formal object, in the openness of reality.

Reality, I repeat, is something formally open. Intellection is not, then, a relation, but is respectivity, and it is so because it is actuality; actuality is nothing but the respectivity of something which is formally open. Every formality is a mode of actuality, a mode of "remaining" or "staying". Hence, even in stimulation the stimulus "remains", but only as a sign. The stimulus has that actuality of being an objective sign; it is signitive actuality. But in the formality of reality what is apprehended has the actuality of the "of its own". It is actuality of reality and not just of signitivity. Nonetheless, there is an essential difference. In signitive actuality the sign, precisely by being a sign, pertains formally and exclusively to the response. On the other hand, in the actuality of reality this actuality has the character of a prius. Hence, in both cases we start from a conceptualization of what is apprehended according as it is apprehended. What happens is that in the second case what is apprehended, by being a prius, is the actuality of sensing by being already the actuality of reality. They are two modes of impressive otherness. They both are equally immediate, but only the second has the moment of priority of the de suyo, and only the de suyo is respective in transcendental openness. Hence, despite the equal immediateness of both types of otherness, their difference is essential.

b) In the second place, consider actuality and presentness. Intellective actuality, like all actuality, is that moment of reality according to which the real thing is here-and-now present {145} as real from within itself. Nonetheless, intellective actuality is not presentness; it is not a being "present" here-and-now, but a "being here-and-now" present. Presentness is something grounded on actuality. This is essential, because what I have been saying about reality could be interpreted in a completely false way. Indeed, one might think that to say that what is perceived is present as real means only that what is perceived is present as if it were real. Reality would be then mere presentness. This, basically, is the celebrated thesis of Berkeley: esse est percipi. Obviously, that is not what I mean. For Berkeley, to be perceived is to have an esse which consists in pure presentness. We leave aside the question of whether Berkeley speaks of being and not of reality; for the present discussion it does not matter. Nor does it matter that Berkeley refers to perception, because perception is a mode of sentient intellection. Now, what Berkeley said is not a fact, because while the presentness of what is perceived is certainly one of its moments, it is a moment grounded in turn upon another moment belonging equally to it, viz., actuality. It is not the case that what is perceived "is present as if it were" real, but as "being present here-and-now".

In perception itself, if we stay within its confines, its moment of presentness is seen to be grounded upon its primary mode of actuality. To be perceived is nothing but the moment of presentness of actuality, of the "being now in actuality". Having confounded actuality with mere presentness, having reduced the former to the latter, is as I see it, Berkeley’s great initial error. What is present is so by being actual in perception; but only "being here-and-now actual" is it "perceived". {146}

c) In the third place, consider actuality and reality. Actuality and reality are two intrinsic moments of every intellection, but they are not of equal rank. Although I have already explained this before, it deserves repetition here. Actuality is actuality of reality itself, and therefore is grounded upon reality when apprehended intellectively. And this is so because the formality of reality is a prius of the thing apprehended with respect to its apprehension; whence its actuality in intellection is grounded as that actuality in reality. Intellective apprehension is always and only actuality "of" reality. Reality is not grounded upon actuality, i.e., reality is not reality of actuality, but rather actuality is actuality of reality.

To summarize, in every intellection we have reality which is actual, and which in its actuality is here-and-now present to us. Such is the structure of intellection as actuality.

Now, not every actuality is intellective. Hence, we must pose the following question: In what, formally, does intellective actuality qua intellective consist?

2. Intellective Actuality. By being actuality, intellection is a being here-and-now present of the real in it by virtue of being real. Thus, this actuality is intellective formally because in it the real not only actualizes itself but does nothing other than actualize itself. This is what I call being "mere actuality". What is it to be mere actuality?

a) Above all it refers to a character of the real in apprehension itself. Although I have already said so many times, it is useful to emphasize this again, because to say that intellection is mere actualization of the real can lead to a serious error, one that I might even term ‘fatal’. {147} It consists in interpreting that phrase in the sense that the real things of the world make themselves present to the intelligence in their very worldly reality. This idea was expressly affirmed in Greek and Medieval philosophy, but is rigorously untenable and formally absurd. The things of the world have no reason to be present as such in the intellection. With this question we now find ourselves facing another question, viz. that of transcendentality. And I have said categorically that trancendental character does not formally mean transcendent character. What I affirm in the phrase we are discussing is exactly the contrary of what is affirmed in this conception of the transcendent, a conception which I reject as a formal moment of intellection. The phrase in question does not affirm anything about real things in the world, but rather says something which concerns only the formal content of what is intellectively apprehended. It deals, then, with the formality of reality and not with transcendent reality. Thus, I say of this content that the only thing intellection "does" or "makes" is to "make it actual" in its proper formality of reality, and nothing more. I shall immediately return to this point; but for now, one more step.

b) Through this formality of reality, the apprehended content remains as something "of its own". What is important to us here is that we are dealing with a "remaining". To remain is not just to be the terminus of an apprehension, but to be remain with this content present and such as it presents itself. I said this from another point of view at the beginning of the book: what is apprehended has a content and also a formality, which is the mode according to which what is apprehended is here-and-now present through the mode of the apprehendor "having to deal with it"; i.e. {148} by reason of habitude. This mode is what I called ‘remaining’ or ‘staying’. In every apprehension the thing "remains" in the apprehension. And this remaining is either a "remaining" of a stimulus or a "remaining" of reality. Thus, qua real the content does nothing but "remain". The content is actualized, and is only actualized: it "remains". What the mutual actuation of the apprehendor and the apprehended might have been is something which does not affect the proper formality of the latter. With regard to what does affect this formality, the content does not act; it does nothing but "remain" in its reality. Mere actuality is, then, actuality which formally consists in a "remaining".

c) Yet one more step. The real "remains" in the intellection. This means that its formality of reality "rests" upon itself. Here, ‘to rest’ clearly does not mean that the real is quiescent, but, even when mobile and changeable, this change is apprehended as real, and thus its reality (as formality) rests upon itself. This does nothing but describe the "remaining" from another point of view. Nevertheless, to do so is not useless, because one might think that I am referring to intellection as action. And that is untrue; I refer to intellection according to its formal essence, i.e., to actuality. That intellection as action is "rest", in the sense of having its end in itself, is Aristotle’s old idea of energeia which dominated all of the ancient and Medieval worlds, and in large measure the modern world as well, for example in Hegel. For Aristotle there are actions like intellective knowing and loving which have their ergon in themselves; they are done only for the sake of doing them. Thus, intellective knowing has no other ergon than intellective knowing, and love no other ergon than to be now loving. For this reason these actions are {149}energeiai. But be that as it may, whether these actions have no other end than themselves, our problem is not the nature of the intellective action, but the formal nature of its actuality, the formal nature of intellection itself. Thus, reality qua "remaining", rests upon itself: it is reality and nothing more than reality.

To summarize, the formally proper part of intellective actuality qua intellective is to be "mere" actuality, i.e. to have as terminus the formality of reality such as it "remains resting" upon itself.

In intellection, then:

1. What is known intellectively "is here-and-now" present as real; it is something apprehended as real.

2. What is known intellectively "is just here-and-now" present; it is not something elaborated or interpreted, or anything of that nature.

3. What is known intellectively is only present "in and for itself"; hence, the real is an intrinsic and formal moment of what is present as such. It is not something beyond what is apprehended; it is its "remaining" in itself.

It is in the unity of these three moments that the fact of the intellection being mere actuality of the real as real consists.

But intellection is formally sentient. And here a great problem arises: Is it true that what is intellectively and sentiently known is qua impressively apprehended mere actuality?





Intellection is just actualization of the reality of what is known intellectively. This intellection is sentient; i.e., I intellectively know the real impressively, in an impression of reality. And not only the formality of reality, but its sensed content as well pertains to this intellection; it is, indeed, precisely this content which has the formality of reality. Therefore this content as such is real, that is to say, just reality actualized. Apprehension of the so-called sensible qualities: color, sound, taste, etc. is therefore an apprehension of a real quality. That is, sensible qualities are real. But it is necessary to explain this assertion.

1. Sensible qualities are above all our impressions. And it is now that we must point out that an impression has a moment of affection of the sentient being and a moment of otherness of what is sensed. We saw this in chapter III (let us leave aside for now the third moment of force of imposition of what is sensed upon the sentient being). Those two moments cannot be separated. Impression is not only affection, but the presentation of something "other" in the affection, viz., color, sound, taste, etc. The fact that sensible qualities are our impressions means that in the impressive moment something other is present to us. This other has a content (which we also saw), for example, green, and a formality which can be of stimulation (in the case of an animal) or of reality (in the case of man). In the formality of stimulation a quality is {151} apprehended only as a sign of response. On the other hand, being the formality of reality consists in the content being "of its own" what it is; it is something de suyo. Reality is, then, the formality of the de suyo. This, then, is what happens in our apprehension of sensible qualities. They are sensible because they are apprehended in an impression; but they are real because they are something de suyo. The green is such-and-such a shade, intensity, etc.; it is all of this de suyo, it is green de suyo. It would be a mistake to think that the color is green because of some structures proper to my sensory receptors. Be as it may the psycho-organic structure of my sensations and perceptions, that which is present to me in them is present de suyo. Reality, I repeat, is the formality of the de suyo. Hence, the qualities are something strictly and rigorously real. That they are our impressions does not mean that they are not real, but that their reality is present impressively.

2. This reality of the de suyo is just actuality. The process of sensing a quality involves an extremely complex system of structures and actuations, both on the part of things and on the part of my sensory receptors. But what is formally sensed in this process is not these actuations, but rather what is present to me in them: the green itself. Sensed green is not an actuation, but an actuality. That the green is seen does not consist in my sentient process being green, but in the green which is seen being something de suyo. Being sensed only consists in being here-and-now present in my vision. And this is reality in the strictest sense of the word. It is not as if the green which is sensed were present with some pretension of reality, i.e. as if it were real; rather, it is present in accordance with what it is in itself, with what it is de suyo. This means that not only is the {152} perception real, but so is its formal qualitative content; this green is a content which is de suyo green.

3. This reality, I affirm, is formality. Consequently, reality is not a special "zone" of things, so to speak. That is, we are not referring to a zone of real things which is "beyond" the zone of our impressions. Reality is not to be there "beyond" an impression, but rather, reality is just formality. In virtue of this it is necessary to distinguish not reality and our impressions, but rather what is real "in" an impression and what is real "beyond" the impression. Thus we are not contrasting realities with my impressions, but two ways of being real, or if one wishes, two zones which both possess the formality of reality. What is real "in" an impression may not be real other than in the impression, but this does not mean that it is not real there. Today we know that if all animals with sight were to disappear, real colors would also disappear; so not just some impressive affections, but realities as well, would disappear. What happens is that these realities are not real other than "in" the impression. But the real "beyond" the impression would continue unperturbed. Now, this is not some trivial verbal distinction, because what is real is always and only what it is de suyo. What is real "beyond" is not so by virtue of being "beyond", but is real through being de suyo something "beyond". Beyond is nothing but a mode of reality. Reality, I repeat, is the formality of the de suyo whether "in" an impression or "beyond" it. The impressively real and the real beyond coincide, then, in being the formality of the de suyo; i.e., they coincide in being real.

4. This is not mere coincidence; rather it is a real unity of these two modes of reality. We do not refer to these two {153} modes as being only two particular cases of the same concept, the concept of the de suyo. Rather, we refer to a physical unity of reality. In fact, the impression of reality actualizes the formality of reality, as we saw, in different modes, and among them is the mode "toward". This means that it is the real itself in an impression of reality which is really bearing us toward a "beyond" the perceived. Hence, it is not a going to the reality beyond perception, but is a going from the real perceived to the real "beyond". That leaves open the question of what the terminus of the "toward" might be. It is a terminus that is essentially problematic; it could even be an absence of reality, but further investigation is necessary. But in any case this emptiness would be known intellectively in the moment of reality in the "toward", which is constitutive of the impression of reality. In point of fact, we know today that sensible qualities are not real beyond one’s perception, but we must emphasize that they are real in the perception. This is a distinction within the real itself. And what of reality beyond the perceived might correspond to these qualities which are real in perception is something which can only be known intellectively by basing ourselves on the reality of those qualities "in" perception.

To summarize, sentient intellection, with respect to what it has of the sentient, is just actualization of reality.

For modern science and philosophy, sensible qualities are only impressions of ours, and as such are considered as merely affections of the sentient being. Thus, to say that qualities are impressions of ours would mean that they are nothing but affections of our sensing; they would be at most "my" representations, but their content would have no reality at all. But this, as we have just seen, is unacceptable. {154} The moment of affection and the moment of otherness in an impression cannot be split apart (as we have already seen). Being impressions of ours does not mean being unreal, but rather being a reality which is impressively present. The determination of what these qualities are in the world beyond what is formally sensed is precisely the task of science.





In both its intellective and sentient aspects, sentient intellection is formally just the actuality of what is apprehended as real. It is this actuality, then, which constitutes the formal unity of the act of sentient intellection. In what does this unity of actuality consist? That is what we must now clarify.

1. Above all, the reality of what is known intellectively is actual, i.e., is here-and-now present, in sentient intellection. But not only this, since when the intellectively known thing is present (for example, when this rock is present), I not only see the rock but I sense that I am now seeing the rock. The rock not only "is seen", but "I am now seeing" the rock. This is the unity of the rock being here-and-now present and of my vision being here-and-now present. It is a single "being here-and-now", a single actuality. The actuality of the intellection is the actuality of what is known intellectively. There are not two actualities, one of the rock and the other of my intellective vision, but one single actuality. Actuality in the sentient intelligence is, then, at one and the same time, actuality of what is intellectively known and of the intellection itself. It is the same actuality. What is this sameness? That is the question.

One might think that we are dealing with two actualities, so to speak equal; i.e., of the character of actuality in two points of application: in the thing and in the intellection. But this is not true. We are not dealing with two equal actualities, {156} but a single common actuality of the intellectively known thing and the intellection. Let us explain how.

A) Commonness means here a numerical sameness. The actuality of what is known intellectively and of the intellection is numerically the same and identically the same. That which is actual is clearly distinct: what is known intellectively is distinct from the intellection itself. But qua actuality it is numerically identical. If one wishes, there are two distinct actual things in one single actuality. This numerical sameness is of the essence of intellection. We are not dealing with some theoretical construct, but making an analysis of any intellective act. This rock being now present in one’s vision is the same as now seeing the rock.

B) But I must stress that it is a commonness of mere actuality. We are not referring to some common action produced by the thing and my intelligence; that would be a commonness of actuity, a communication of substances. That commonness is above all a metaphysical construct and not a fact. Moreover, even as a construct it is very problematic and debatable. On the other hand, in the formal nature of sentient intellection we do not have a common act, but a common actuality. Thus it is commonness of actuality. In the very act of seeing this rock, the actuality as rock-seen is the same as the actuality of seeing the rock. It is precisely in this identity that the difference between the rock and my vision is actualized. It is an actuality which actualizes at one and the same time these two terms.

Thus we have here the complete essence of sentient intellection: in the actuality of the thing and of the intellective knowing, the intellection and what is known intellectively are actualized—through the numerical identity of their actuality—as two distinct realities. {157}

When I say, then, that sentient intellection is just the common actualization of the real in it, I do not only refer to real things but also to the reality of my own sentient intellection as an act of mine. My own act of sentient intellection is a real act, a reality. And this reality is actualized with the reality of the thing in the same actuality as the thing. Let us dwell a bit on this point.

a) Above all, through being a common actuality, the reality itself of my act of sentient intellection is actualized in it. When I see this "real rock" I am now "really seeing" this rock. The reality of my own act of sentient intellection is actualized in the same actuality as the rock; this is how I am here-and-now in myself.

b) This being now in myself is sentient. And it is so not only because the "me" is sensed as reality (for example, the kinesthesia, as we saw), but because the "being now" itself is sentient—the only point which is now important to us. By sensing the real, I am there as really sensing. If this were not so, what we would have is something like an idea of my intellective act, but not "really being there" knowing myself in my reality. I am now in myself sentiently.

c) We are talking about a "being here-and-now". Consequently, being here-and-now in myself is not the result, so to speak, of a returning upon my act; i.e., we do not refer to having an intellection of my act after having had the act of intellection of the rock. I am not here-and-now in myself because I return, but rather (if one wishes to speak of returning) I return because I am here-and-now already in myself. There is no returning upon the act, but an already being in it really. I am now in myself by being now intellectively and sentiently knowing the thing. Conversely, I can never be here-and-now in myself otherwise than by being here-and-now in the thing. Whence being here-and-now in myself has the same actuality {158} as the being here-and-now in the thing; it is the common actuality of reality. To intellectively know something sentiently is to be here-and-now intellectively knowing sentiently the proper reality of my act.

It was necessary to conceptualize it thus in order to avoid the fundamental error of thinking that being here-and-now in myself consists in returning from things upon myself. That was the conception of reflection in medieval philosophy (reditio in seipsum), and is what in modern philosophy is called introspection. It would be necessary to enter into myself, in my proper reality, and this reality would be a "return". But this is false. In the first place, that return upon the act itself would be an infinite regress: when I return upon myself I would have to return upon my own return, and so on indefinitely. If the turning in upon myself were a "return", I would never have succeeded in doing so. But in the second place, what is radically false is the idea that it is necessary to turn in upon myself. It is not necessary to "enter" or "turn in", since I am now already there in myself. And this is so by the mere fact of being here-and-now sensing the reality of some thing. I am now in myself because my being is actualized in the same actuality as the real thing. Every introspection is grounded on this prior common actuality.

For this reason, the possibility of introspection, like the possibility of extro-spection, is grounded upon the common actuality of the thing and of my sentient intellective act. Thus there is no infinite regress. Extrospection is the entrance into the reality of a thing. Its possibility is in the sentient actualization of the reality of a thing. And the possibility of entering into myself in the same act of mine is based on the fact that this real act has numerically identical actuality as the sentient actuality of the real thing. Both "enterings" are grounded on the fact that every actuality is of reality, and the common actuality is so of the reality of the thing and {159} of my own act. Introspection therefore has the same problematic character as extrospection. It is no less problematic to be intellectively knowing the reality of my intellection than to be intellectively knowing the reality of a thing. What is not a problem, but a fact, is that sentient intellection is common actuality.

2. This commonness of actuality has its precise structure, because in the numerical identity of the actuality two realities are actualized. And these two realities qua actualized are not simply two. To be sure, their actuality is numerically the same; but it intrinsically involves a duality of actualized realities, and this duality has a precise structure.

In the first place, when a thing is actualized in sentient intellection, as I said, the reality of the intellection itself remains actualized. That is, the intellection remains "co-actualized" in the same actuality as the thing. When I sense the real rock, I repeat, I am here-and-now sensing it. The common actuality of what is intellectively known and of the intellection has above all this character of "co-" or "with".

In the second place, in that common actuality the thing is now present "in" sentient intellection; but also sentient intellection is present "in" the thing. I believe it essential to thematically emphasis this point. To describe intellection as the presence of a thing in the intelligence is to make a unilateral description. The intelligence is just as present "in" the thing as the thing "in" the intelligence. Naturally this does not refer to sentient intellection as action somehow acting on the thing known, for example, on the sun. That would be absurd. What I maintain is that sentient intellection as actualization is now "in" the same actualization as the sun. Through being common actuality, {160} then, we have a single "in". Common actuality has the character of "with" and the character of "in".

In the third place, this common actuality is actuality of reality. This actualization of the reality of a thing and of the sentient act as a real act is, then, actualization of the same formality of reality. Now, the formality of reality has, as we saw, the character of being a prius. Reality is the formality of the "in itself", of the de suyo, and in virtue of it what is actualized, what is real, is something prior to its actualization in sentient intellection; every actuality is "of" the real. In virtue of this, the common intellective actuality is the actuality "of" the thing, and the thing is the actualizer "of" the intellection. It is the same "of". The common actuality has, then, the character of an "of". This moment of the "of" pertains to the intellection precisely and formally by being actuality, and only by being actuality. It is not an immediate characteristic.

These three characteristics of "with", "in", and "of" are but three aspects of a single common actuality; moreover, they are what formally comprises the commonness of actualization. And as aspects, each is based on the following. The "with" is the "with" of an "in", and the "in" is an "in" being "of". Conversely, each aspect is grounded upon the previous one. Actuality as an "of" is so precisely through being actuality "in"; and it is "in" precisely through being "with". The unity of these three aspects is, I repeat, what formally constitutes the commonness of actualization, i.e., the formal unity of sentient intellection.

3. This unitary structure in turn reveals to us some essential aspects which it is necessary to point out explicitly. {161}

A) We are dealing with a common intellective actuality, with sentient intellection. This common actuality is co-actuality.

Co-actuality is a character of common actuality qua actuality. Now, this aspect reflects, so to speak, on the intellective character of the actuality: when a real thing is intellectively known in sentient fashion, sentient intellection itself is sentiently "co-intellectively" known—not, to be sure, like one more thing, but in that form which is expressed by the gerund "I am here-and-now sensing". If as is commonly done (though very inappropriately) one calls intellective knowing scientia, science, it will be necessary to say that in virtue of the common actuality of the intellection as actuality, that common intellection as "intellective" actuality will not be just science but cum-scientia: con-science, i.e., consciousness. Consciousness is intellective co-actuality of intellection itself in its proper intellection. This is the radical concept of consciousness. Intellection is not consciousness, but every intellection is necessarily conscious precisely and formally because the intellection is "co-actuality"; intellective but co-actual. And since intellection is sentient, i.e., since reality is intellectively known in impression, it follows that consciousness is radically and formally sentient.

But it is necessary to make two observations here.

In the first place, this consciousness is not, formally, introspection. Introspection is only a mode of consciousness: it is the consciousness of the act of turning in upon oneself, as we have already seen. But the act of turning in upon oneself is grounded upon the act of being here-and-now in oneself (kinesthetic intellection), and therefore the introspective consciousness is grounded in the direct consciousness of co-actuality. {162}

In the second place, modern philosophy has not only made intellection an act of consciousness, but has extended this idea to all human acts. But, this is false. Consciousness, as we saw in Chapter I, does not have any substantivity; acts of consciousness do not exist, only conscious acts. And among these latter, some like intellection are of course fully conscious; but are not intellective by being conscious. Rather, just the reverse is true: they are conscious by being intellective. Other acts are not necessarily conscious.

Now let us proceed to examine the area of common actuality. Common actuality is actuality in the character of the "in". Hence, when I have sentient co-intellection, i.e., when I have sentient consciousness, I have consciousness of sentient intellection "in" the thing. In common actuality I am now sensing myself "in" the thing, and sensing that the thing is now "in" me. Because this is intellective actuality, I then have not only sentient consciousness, but moreover I am here-and-now consciously "in" the thing and "in" my own intellection. That is what we mean when we say of someone who is very perplexed about a subject or not enthused about it that he is "not into it". Because of the common actuality in the character of the "in", when I intellectively know in sentient fashion my being here-and-now in a thing, I have sentient consciousness of being now "in" it. This is another aspect of the distinct consciousness of the "cum", and how it is grounded in the common actuality.

Moreover, common actuality has the character of an "of": a thing is an actualizer "of" sentient intellection, and sentient intellection is intellection "of" the thing. This is an aspect which corresponds to the common intellective actuality qua actuality. Now, the character of the "of" as a moment of common intellective actuality qua {163} intellective is then "consciousness of", it is "taking-cognizance-of", the thing and of my own sentient intellection. The actuality in "of" is "intellection-of", i.e., "consciousness-of". This "consciousness-of" is a character grounded in the common intellective actuality. Furthermore, the "consciousness-of" is grounded in the "consciousness-in". Only being here-and-now "in" a thing am I taking cognizance "of" it. And since I am now in it sentiently, the primary and radical taking cognizance is always and essentially sentient.

In summary, consciousness is not intellection but pertains essentially to sentient intellection. Sentient intellection is common actuality, and this common actuality qua actuality of intellective knowing makes it consciousness. And consciousness is not primarily and radically "consciousness-of", but rather the "consciousness-of" is grounded on the "consciousness-in", and the "consciousness-in" is grounded on the radical "cum", on the impressive "cum" of sentient intellection.

When modern philosophy took leave of the "consciousness-of" (Bewusstsein-von), it committed a double error. In the first place, it essentially identified "consciousness" and "consciousness-of". But essentially and radically consciousness is "con-scious"; and only through "consciousness-in" is the "consciousness-of" constituted. But in addition, as I have repeatedly said, modern philosophy has committed an even more serious error: it has identified intellection and consciousness. In such case, intellection would be a "taking-cognizance-of". And this is false since there is only "consciousness" because there is common actuality, that actuality which is the formal constitutive character of sentient intellection.

With respect to stimulation, this same thing happens in animals. The impression constituting pure sensing, {164} by reason of its moment of otherness, makes what is sensed to be sensed as a stimulus. But at one and the same time it makes the animal "co-sense" its own affection as a stimulus; i.e., it makes the sentient animal "co-sense".

In an animal, what is present to it is so as stimulus, and in this presentation the signed presence of the animal itself qua responsive animal is co-present, co-sensed. Now, this stimulus-based co-sensing is what constitutes what ought to be called the animal’s sensitive consciousness. This is frequently spoken of, but never explained. At most we are given to understand that an animal "recognizes" what is sensed just as does a man, the difference being only that the animal "recognizes" many fewer things than does a man. But this difference, though great, is absolutely secondary. The radical difference turns upon the fact that the animal’s "recognizing" is essentially different than that of a man, even with respect to those impressions whose content might be the same for both. Human sensing is co-actualization of reality; in this "co-" of reality human consciousness is grounded. Animal sensing is signitive co-stimulation; this "co-" of sign is the sensitive consciousness of the animal. And only because this sensitive consciousness is thus essentially different from human consciousness does the animal necessarily have to "recognize" far fewer things than man. Human consciousness as well as animal consciousness is sentient; what distinguishes them is that human consciousness is of reality, while that of the animal is of stimulus. {165}

B) Common actuality is not only fundamental to consciousness, but also to something different though quite essential. Since this actuality is common, one might think that it is constituted by the integration of two things which, in the usual terminology, are subject and object. Seeing this rock would be an act in which the seeing subject and the object seen were integrated. But that is not the case. On the contrary: it is through being common actuality that sentient intellection is actuality of what is intellectively known in intellection, and of intellection in what is intellectively known. With respect to the actuality of what is intellectively known, that actuality leads to a conceptualization and a discovery much fuller than what is commonly but improperly called ‘object’. Qua actuality of intellection, it is this actuality which will later lead to discovery and conceptualization of the intelligence itself, and in general to everything which, with the same impropriety, is usually termed ‘subject’. Common actuality is not the result, but the root of subjectivity. The essence of subjectivity consists not in being a subject of properties, but in "being me". It does not consist in dependence upon me, but rather is the character of something which is "me", be it something like a property of mine, or something of the thing qua thing, something which is "me" just by being of the thing and, therefore, by depending not on me but on it. Sentient intellection is not given in subjectivity, but on the contrary sentient intellection as just actualization of the real is the very constitution of subjectivity; it is the opening to the realm of the "me". Hence the two terms ‘subject’ and ‘object’ are not "integrated" in sentient intellection, but rather it is this which in a certain way "dis-integrates" itself into subject and object. Subject and object are grounded in the common actuality of sentient intellection, and not the other way around. {166}

C) The common actuality has a special character which should be expressly pointed out. We said, in effect, that the real itself is the actualizer of sentient intellection. This means that it is the real which determines and grounds the commonness. To be sure, without intellection there would be no actuality; but if there is to be actuality of the real, it is something determined by the real itself. Now, reality is the formality given in an impression of reality. And this impression, as we saw, is open actuality, a respective openness; it is transcendentality. Hence, the real qua determinant of the actuality of sentient intellection determines it as something structurally open. Common actuality is thus transcendental, and its transcendentality is determined by the transcendentality of the reality of the real. Common actuality is formally transcendental actuality because such is the impression of reality, i.e., because the impression is sentient. Kant told us that the structure of the understanding conferred transcendental content (transzendentaler Inhalt) upon what is understood. But this is not true. In the first place, transcendentality is not a proper character of the understanding but of the sentient understanding. In the second place, an intellection is trancendental through finding itself determined by the real in a common actuality with that intellection. This actuality is, then, not only common but transcendental. The commonness of the actuality is a commonness in which sentient intellection is respectively open to the real when intellectively known in impression. And it is because of this that sentient intellection itself is transcendental. It is not trancendental as a conceptual moment, nor by being constitutive of the real as object. It is transcendental because, {167} by being common actuality, the sentient intelligence remains open to reality in the same openness in which the real itself is open qua reality. It is the openness of reality which determines the openness of sentient intellection. And it is because of this, I repeat, that sentient intellection itself is transcendental.

Moreover, it is because of this that sentient intellection is transcendentally open to other intellections. Diverse intellections, indeed, do not constitute an edifice by some sort of mutual coupling or joining together, i.e., because one intellection is "added" to others which outline, organize, or amplify it. On the contrary: all of this takes place, and must necessarily take place, through the transcendentally open nature of each intellection. Transcendentality as respective openness of sentient intellection is the radical foundation of any possible "edifice", of any possible "logic" of intellection. But this requires further explanation.

D) One might think that the openness of an intellection to others is referred to the content of the intellections. This is not the case. The openness concerns something much more radical: the very mode of the common actuality. This common actuality can adopt diverse modes; i.e., there are diverse modes of actualization. Each of them is open to the others, and this openness of the modes of actualization as such is what formally constitutes the transcendental foundation of every logic, or rather, of all the intellections whose articulation the logic studies. We shall study this at length in other parts of the book.

Jumping ahead a bit, it is fitting even now to emphasize what I regard as an error of ancient philosophy, according to which intellection is logos. In this view, everything the intellection has would be only moments of the logos; hence, intellection {168} would be formally logos. But as I indicated a few pages back, I think that this is false. Instead of "logifying" intellection it is necessary to "intelligize" the logos. Now, to intelligize the logos is to consider it as a mode of "common" intellective actualization. Under conditions which we shall study in other parts of the book, the primordial apprehension of the real, by being transcendentally open, determines that mode of common intellective actualization which is logos. Logos

is intellection only because it is a mode of actualizing what is already intellectively known in intellection, a mode which is transcendentally determined by actualization in the primordial apprehension of reality. Intellection has other modes which are not that of logos. But all these modes are just that: "modes". And they are not modes which are simply diverse, but modes which are transcendentally grounded upon each other. Hence the modes are essentially "modalizations" of an actuality which is primarily and radically transcendental. As I said, this primary and radical intellective actuality is the primary and radical sentient intellection, what I have called since the beginning of the book the primordial apprehension of reality. But, I repeat, this is just a preview. We shall return to this subject at some length in chapters VIII and IX, and above all in the other two parts of the work.

We have seen what the formal essence of the act of intellective knowing is: it is just actuality of what is known intellectively in sentient intellection. It is a simple "remaining" of what is apprehended in an impression of reality, and a "remaining" of sentient intellection in what is impressively known intellectively. It is just a common and transcendental actuality in which two things are made actual: what is impressively known intellectively and sentient intellection itself. This actuality has {169} the character of consciousness and is what constitutes the realm of subjectivity. And precisely by being common actuality, sentient intellection is transcendentally open to other modes of actualization, and with that to other intellections. This transcendental openness of sentient intellection is the radical and intrinsic foundation of all intellective construction, of every logos.

This is the first of the three questions which I propounded at the end of chapter IV. It was, "In what does the character of sentient intellection as such consist?" That is what we have just examined; now we must proceed to the other two questions. First of all, What is the character of what is intellectively known in sentient fashion; i.e., what is the character of reality (the second question)? After that, we shall go on to the third question: In what does reality "in" sentient intellection consist? {170}






Given the importance of the problem of sensible qualities, it is useful to examine this question by itself even at the risk of some repetition of what has already been said. The exposition will perhaps contain boring repetitions, but I deem them necessary to clarify the idea of what I understand by the reality of sensible qualities.

The reality of sensible qualities above all seems to be in contradiction with modern science. These qualities, we are told, are nothing but our subjective impressions. Indeed, if all animals endowed with visual sense were to disappear from the universe, all colors would eo ipso disappear as well. The reality of things is not colored. To affirm the contrary would be, we are told, an inadmissible ingenuous realism. In turn, by accepting this scientific conception, philosophy has thought that these subjective impressions of ours are referred to reality only through a causal reasoning process. The real would thus be the cause of our subjective impressions. This was the idea expressly propounded by Kant himself, later termed critical realism. Nonetheless, I believe that neither the subjectivism of science on this point nor critical realism are acceptable.

Naturally, to reject what science says about the reality of things would be to reject something which nowadays {172} is justifiably admitted to be a definitive conquest. This cannot be stressed too much, but it does not touch the problem with which we are concerned. Indeed, one could say that science has not even addressed our problem. For what is understood by ‘reality’ when science labels our impressions and hence sensible qualities as ‘subjective’? One understands by ‘reality’ that these qualities are foreign to sensible perception and, therefore, are real independently of it. But when we affirm here that sensible qualities are not our subjective impressions, but rather are real, do we affirm something akin to the idea that these qualities are real with an independence going beyond perception, i.e., beyond sentient intellection? Clearly not; reality does not consist in things (in our case, qualities) being something beyond perception and independent of it. Hence, the radical and crucial problem is found in the concept of reality itself. What is understood by ‘reality’? That is the question upon which depends the meaning of our affirmation of the reality of sensible qualities.

1) Explanation of this idea. Let us first recall two ideas which have been developed throughout this book.

In the first place, the idea of reality does not formally designate a zone or class of things, but only a formality, reity or "thingness". It is that formality by which what is sentiently apprehended is presented to me not as the effect of something beyond what is apprehended, but as being in itself something "of its own", something de suyo; for example, not only {173} "warming" but "being" warm. This formality is the physical and real character of the otherness of what is sentiently apprehended in my sentient intellection. And according to this formality, heat not only warms, but does so by being warm. That is, the formality of reality in what is perceived itself is something prior with respect to its effective perception. And this is not an inference but a fact. For this reason one should speak, as I said a few pages back, of reity (thingness) and reism (thing-ism), rather than of reality and realism (be it critical or ingenuous). ‘Reity’, because we are not dealing with a zone of things, but a formality; ‘reism’, because this concept of reity or reality now leaves open the possibility of many types of reality. The reality of a material thing is not identical with the reality of a person, the reality of society, the reality of the moral, etc.; nor is the reality of my own inner life identical to that of other realities. But on the other hand, however different these modes of reality may be, they are always reity, i.e., formality de suyo. And here we have the first idea which I wanted to set forth: reality is the formality of reity impressively apprehended in sentient intellection. It is not what all the "realisms", from the ingenuous to the critical, have understood by "reality", viz., a determinate zone of things.

In the second place, it is necessary to propound the idea that intellection is just actualization. Actualization is never formally actuation. Hence, it is not a question of what is apprehended pretending to be real or seeming to be so, but of its being already something de suyo and therefore real. Reality, in which what is apprehended consists de suyo, is impressively apprehended in its very character of reity. Intellection is just actualization of the real in its proper and formal reity or reality. {174}

Granting this, I maintain that sensible qualities apprehended in sentient intellection are real, i.e., what is present in them is real since they are de suyo this or that quality; moreover, this reality of theirs does nothing but be actualized in our sentient intellection. This is the thesis which requires further explanation.

First of all, it is necessary to insist once again that reity or reality does not designate a zone of things, but is only a formality. In virtue of this, reality is to be real beyond what is perceived. When one asserts that the qualities of the physical world are not really the qualities which we perceive, one understands by ‘reality’ what these qualities are outside of perception, what they are beyond perception. And thus it is clear that, according to science, if all animals endowed with visual sense disappeared from the universe, the colors would also disappear; the reality of the universe is not colored. But such an affirmation clearly shows that, by ‘reality’, one understands something real beyond perception, a zone of things, viz. the zone of the "beyond". But, this concept is neither primary nor sufficient because the things "beyond" are real not by being "beyond" but by being in this "beyond" what they de suyo are. That is, what is primary is not reality as a zone, but as formality, reity.

Now, in this line of formality we say that that formality is given not only in the zone "beyond" what is perceived, but also in the zone of what is perceived, a zone not any the less real than the zone "beyond" what is perceived. "Reality" means not only what is real "beyond" the perceived, but also what is real "in" the perceived itself. This distinction must be emphasized. In perception, what is perceived—for example, {175} colors, sounds, etc.—are de suyo, just as much de suyo as the things beyond perception. Naturally I am here referring only to sensible qualities sensed in perception. And to be sure we are clear on this point it is essential to recur to the distinction between actualization and actuation. In order to be perceived, the things of the world act upon the sense organs, and in this actuation the physical notes of these sense organs as well as of the things themselves are modified. It suffices to note that, for example, the sense of smell takes place by means of an actuation (let us call it that) of the olfactory receptors upon the reality "beyond". In this actuation what we call the sensible qualities are produced. But, this scientific theory notwithstanding, I affirm that as actualizations, (1) the qualities are real, and (2) they are not subjective.

a) They are real. That is, they are de suyo really and effectively what they are. But for science they are not real beyond perception. Considered from the standpoint of the presumed real things beyond perception, i.e. arguing not formally but from the scientific viewpoint, we would say that sensible qualities are the real way in which these things beyond perception are reality "in" it. It is not that colors seem to be real or pretend to be so; but that they are present in their own reity in perception. Continuing this line of argument from science, we should say that perceived qualities are real because the sense organ is real and likewise the actuation of real things upon it. Hence, from the viewpoint of science, what is perceived by this actuation is also real; i.e. the qualities are real in perception. The sensible qualities thus produced, according to science, in the actuation {176} of things upon the sense organs, and of the latter upon the former, are apprehended as realities de suyo in an act of sentient intellection which is mere actualization. That these qualities may be the result of an actuation is something totally indifferent for the purposes of intellection as such. Intellection is just actualization, though what is actualized follows an actuation. Thus it is clear that if the visual sense organ disappeared, so likewise would the actuation and hence the colors. That is, these colors are real in perception but not beyond perception.

This concept of the real "in" perception is necessary. What is apprehended does not cease to be real because it is real only in perception. Considered from the standpoint of things beyond perception, qualities are the real way in which real things are really present in perception. It is the real quality which is present as formality in perception. Actuation does not mean that qualities do not pertain really to a thing, but that they pertain to it only in this phenomenon which we call ‘perception’. Therefore, to affirm that sensible qualities are real is not ingenuous realism—that would be to assert that sensible qualities are real beyond perception and outside of it. The fact of the matter is that science has feigned ignorance of the sensible qualities, and this is unacceptable. Science must explain not only what, cosmically, color, sound, odor, etc. are in perception; but also the color qua real perceived quality. But neither physics, chemistry, physiology, nor psychology tell us a word about what perceived sensible qualities are, nor how physico-chemical and {177} psycho-physical processes give rise to color and sound, nor what these qualities are in their formal reality. Phenomenology only describes them. This is a situation which I have often characterized as scandalous—that the question which, when all is said and done, is the foundation of all real knowledge should be thus sidestepped. This situation is a scandal to be laid at the feet of science; let us not burden ourselves with it. For us it suffices to point out, without eliminating it, the fact that sensible qualities are real moments of what is perceived, but they are real only in perception.

We might note in passing that the reality of sensible qualities does not coincide with the assertion that these qualities are proper to "things". What we call "things" is something genetically elaborated in our perceptions over the course of years; thus for a child of two, things do not have the same aspect as they do for an adult. This is the result of formalization. For the time being, we are not concerning ourselves with what these things are qua things, but rather what qualities are in them and not qua qualities of things. And it is in this sense that I say that qualities are real in perception prior to being qualities of things. Formally each sensible quality is real in itself "in" perception.

b) These qualities are not subjective. For science, we are told, sensible qualities are something merely subjective. The theory is that up to a certain point a "correspondence" is established, more or less bi-univocal, between these presumably subjective qualities and the things which are real beyond perception. But thus to admit without further ado that sensible qualities are subjective by virtue of not pertaining to real things beyond {178} perception is an ingenuous subjectivism. If it is an ingenuous realism—and it is—to make sensible qualities into properties of things outside of perception, it is an ingenuous subjectivism to declare them simply subjective. Real things are set off in some zone beyond perception, and everything else is put into the zone of the subjective. "The subjective" is the repository for everything which science does not understand about this problem. Scientism and critical realism are ingenuous subjectivism, and this is unacceptable for many reasons.

In the first place, there is no possibility whatsoever of establishing that presumed correspondence between sensible qualities and "real things" if one begins by asserting that the former are subjective qualities. Because if the entire sensory order is subjective, where and how can the intelligence take leave of the sensory and jump to reality? Rationalism in all its forms understands that this jump is given in the concept: the concept tells me what a thing is. The reality of the sun, we are told, is not what I perceive of it, but what the concepts of astronomy tell me about it. But if one takes this assertion rigorously, it is not just that the astronomical concepts do not in fact conceptualize the sun’s reality, by themselves they are incapable of doing so. And this is because concepts by themselves do not go beyond being objective concepts; they are never by themselves real and effective concepts of reality. Reality is not the same as objectivity; it is something toto caelo different from all objectivity. Thus science would be purely and simply a coherent system of objective concepts, but not an apprehension of reality. In order for concepts to be concepts of reality, they must be based formally and intrinsically upon sensed reality. {179} The concepts are indispensable; but what is conceived in them is real only if the real is already given as real, i.e, if the reality is sensed. Only then does a concept acquire the scope of reality; only then can the concept of the sun tell me what the sun is. To bu sure, with only perception of the sun there would be no science of astronomy; but without the solar reality being given in some way in my perception, there would likewise be no science of astronomy because what there would not be is the "sun". And astronomy is not the science of the concepts of the sun, but a science of the sun.

Granting this, the correspondence between concepts and what is sensed would be impossible if what is sensed is subjective. There would in that case be no possible correspondence between a perception, qualified as subjective, and any reality beyond the perception, despite the fact that to achieve this goal one calls upon a great richness of concepts. If one insists that reason inquires about the existence of something real based upon the principle of causality applied to our subjective impressions, then he would have to say that this already presumes that these impressions are real; i.e., it presupposes the reality of the impression. But as reality, these impressions are not subjective either inasmuch as they involve something perceived or in their percipient aspect. Not the latter because they are not subjective acts, but subjectual acts—something quite different. And not the former because the qualities are not "subjective" realities, i.e., they are not qualities of me as subject, because that would be equivalent to affirming that my intellection is warm, sonorous, etc., which is absurd. Hence, if they are not reality of the subject, and one denies that they are real in themselves, where will the causality be grounded? Causal reasoning will bear us from the subjectively colored thing to the concept of a colored subject distinct from {180} mine, but never from a subject to a reality. Causality does not start only from subjective impressions of reality, but must be based in the perceived itself. And if what is perceived is formally subjective, then the causality collapses. There is no causality whatsoever which can lead from the purely subjective, i.e. from subjective impressions, to the real. This critical realism is, in all its forms, a pseudo-realistic conception.

But in the second place, even leaving aside this extremely serious difficulty, there is the fact that science has not posed for itself the problem of that mode of reality which it fleetingly calls ‘subjective’. We saw this a few pages back: it labels as ‘subjective’ everything which is relative to a subject. Thus it terms sensible qualities ‘subjective’ because it deems that they are necessarily relative to the sensory organs and dependent upon them. But this does not have the least thing to do with subjectivity. Subjectivity is not being a property of a subject, but simply being "mine", even though it may be mine by being of a real quality, i.e., by being this reality de suyo. Now, something can be de suyo even if fleeting, variable, and relative in a certain way, without ceasing to be real in its fleetingness, variability, and relativity. Fleetingness, variability, and relativity are characteristics of "unicity" but not of "subjectivity". This unicity is a characteristic of a reality which is de suyo unique. Why? Because it concerns the actuation of things upon the sense organs. It is an actuation which is respective to the organ and the state in which it is encountered, and which is variable not only from some individuals to others, but also within the same individual, even in the course of the same perception. But this organ and its interaction with things {181} are both something real. All the physiological states of an organism, however individual they may be, do not for that reason cease to be real states. And these states, when they concern the receptive organs, individualize that very thing which they apprehend. But what is apprehended itself, despite its relativity and organic individuality, does not therefore cease to be real. What happens is that this reality is "unique". The zone of the real in perception has this character of unicity. But it does not have the character of subjectivity. The impression of the reality which is proper to the qualities is just an impressive actualization that is "unique" but not "subjective" in the acceptation which this word has in science. To assert that the unique, by being fleeting and relative, is subjective, is just as false as to assert that the only thing which is real is what is beyond perception. In the final analysis, science has not posed for itself the question of what subjectivity is. In science, any call upon subjectivity does not go beyond a commodius expedient to sidestep a scientific explanation of sensible qualities as well as subjectivity itself.

But in the third place there is something still more serious, and which is the root of this idea we are presently discussing. It is that one starts from the supposition that sensing, what I call ‘sentient intellection’, is a relation between a subject and an object. And this is radically false. Intellection is neither relation nor correlation; it is purely and simply respective actuality. Whence all this scaffolding of subjectivity and of reality is a construction based upon something radically and formally false, and hence erroneous at each of its steps.

In conclusion, sentient intellection is just an actualization of the real as much in its formality as in its qualitative content. With this I have said what is essential {182} to this question; but for greater clarity it will be useful to insist upon it at some length, pointing out problems which go beyond the character of plain sentient intellection and concern rather the task and scope of scientific knowledge in this order of sensible qualities. That is what I shall call the articulation of the problem of qualities.

2) Articulation of the problem of sensible qualities. For this we shall give a precis of what has already been explained.

A) It is clear that the two things to be contrasted are not what is "objective-real" and what is "subjective-irreal". Rather, they are two zones of real things: things real "in" perception, and things real "beyond" perception. But the reality of these latter does not consist just in being beyond perception, but in being so de suyo, because reality is nothing but the formality of the de suyo. Not having conceptualized reality other than from the point of view of what things are beyond perception has been a great conquest of science, but a limited one, because such a conquest does not authorize a reduction of reality to the "beyond". There is reality "in" perception, and reality "beyond" perception. We may note in passing that the thing beyond what is immediately perceived has nothing to do with the Kantian thing-in-itself. What is real beyond perception is a reality which, from the Kantian point of view, would pertain to the phenomenon. Phenomenon is for Kant simply object. Reality beyond is not a metaphysical entity.

B) In both zones, then, one deals with reality, authentic and strict reality. Reality or reity is the boundary within which the two zones are inscribed. What is this reality which "is" divided into reality in perception and {183} reality beyond perception? The answer we have already seen and repeated time and again: it is being de suyo what it is, being what it is "of itself", i.e., being reity. The two zones of real things are really de suyo; they are equally reity. Things beyond perception are real not by virtue of being "beyond", but by being de suyo what they are in this beyond. Qualities are real in perception because they are de suyo what is present in them. Reality is neither thing nor property, nor a zone of things; rather, reality is just formality, the de suyo, reity.

C) The two zones of reality are, then, identical qua reality. In being de suyo the realities in perception and the realities beyond perception are identical. What is different is the content, what is de suyo. The content beyond perception can be different from the content in perception. This does not mean that the content of a perception is not real, but that its reality is insufficient in the line of realities. The insufficiency of reality in perception is what distinguishes the two zones of reality, and what bears us from perceived reality to the reality beyond perception. For this reason, the zone beyond perception is always problematic.

D) These two zones, then, have an intrinsic articulation in reality itself, in the reality apprehended in sentient intellection. Reality is not apprehended sentiently in only one way, but many; and especially important for our problem is that mode which is sensing reality "toward". Reality is apprehended by the sentient intelligence, as we saw, in all of the diverse ways of being sensed; and one of them is sensing it in a directional way. It is not, as we have already seen, a "toward" extrinsic to reality, nor a direction toward reality, {184} but is rather reality itself as direction, or if one wishes, direction as a mode of sensed reality. Hence the terminus of this direction is always something problematic in principle; it is just reality beyond perception. Now, these two different modes of presentation of reality are, as we saw, overlapping and comprise one single perception of reality. The "toward" overlapping the other sensings is now the "toward" overlapping the sensible qualities in themselves and, therefore, propelling us "toward" what is real beyond the perceived.

Since the "toward" is directional, and this direction can be quite diverse depending upon the senses in which it is articulated, it follows that the terminus of this "toward", i.e., the "beyond" itself, can have different characteristics, as we said. It can be "another thing", but it can also be the same thing present but toward what is within itself. We shall not pursue that problem here; I only point it out to show that the "beyond" is not necessarily another thing, and that what is immediately perceived and what is beyond the perceived are not necessarily two numerically different realities. Moreover, these different modes of the "beyond" have among themselves and with what is immediately perceived an internal articulation. It is possible, indeed, that something which is discovered as being "other" beyond the immediate ends up being the very foundation of the immediate, but exceeding it in profundity. Whence, the "beyond" is simultaneously the same thing as the immediate, i.e., its formal foundation, and nonetheless cosmically another thing which is merely immediate by reason of cosmically exceeding it. A reality which is part of the foundation of the formal reality of something, but which exceeds it precisely by being its {185} formal foundation, is not just a reality added to the first, purely and simply. It is rather the same reality in profundity. I shall immediately return to this point.

From this internal articulation of the two zones of real things, the zone of things real "in perception" and the zone of things real "beyond perception" three important consequences follow.

a) To go to the real beyond perception is something inexorable, an intrinsic moment of the very perception of sensible qualities. Every quality, indeed, is perceived not only in and by itself as such-and-such a quality, but also in a "toward". The reality of qualities "only" in perception is precisely what constitutes their radical insufficiency as moments of the real; they are real, but they are really insufficient. In their insufficiency, these already real qualities are pointing in and by themselves in their proper reality "toward" what is real beyond perception; this is the onset of science. What science says of this "toward", i.e., of that beyond perception to which the sensible qualities point, can be owing to a reasoning process which may be causal. But this causal remission (1) is grounded in the "toward" itself and not vice versa; (2) is based upon realities, not upon the reality of my subjective impressions but upon the reality of the perceived quality which, being insufficient, points toward something which causally is discovered by science; (3) is something that can be conquered by means of a causal reasoning process and be, nonetheless, a formal moment of the foundation of that about which one reasons. Thus science is not a capricious occurrence, nor an arbitrary collection of concepts, but something inexorable whatever may be its modes. {186} The modes of the "toward" of the most primitive man just as much as our own are modes of "science", i.e., modes of an inexorable march from perceived reality toward what is real beyond perception.

b) The point of departure and the entire raison d’etre of the affirmation of the real beyond perception is, then, precisely the real which is perceived. Everything that science affirms of the physical world is only justified as an explication of what is perceived qua real "in" perception. Electromagnetic waves or photons, for example, are necessary for perceived color. However they are necessary not only as productive causes of the perceived quality, but, as I see it, they are necessary in a deeper and more radical sense: those waves and photons do not remain "outside" of the perceived quality, but are the reality of this quality "inside" of it; they are a formal moment of its reality in profundity. Color is not produced by the wave (as critical realism affirms), but, I believe, color "is" the wave perceived, is the perceptive visual reality "of" the wave itself. Hence, the visual perception of color "is" the electromagnetic wave "in" perception. Similarly, sound carries us beyond its sonority to elastic longitudinal waves. Again, these waves are not only the causes of sound in perception, but ultimately are formally constitutive of sound itself in its proper sonority. The electromagnetic as well as the elastic waves exceed color and sound respectively; in this respect they are "something other" than these qualities, since their cosmic reality lacks color or sound. But because "in addition" they comprise the formal foundation of color and sound, it follows that those waves and these qualities are not {187} purely and simply two things. Because if indeed outside the realm of this perception the waves are something else, nonetheless within it (and only within it) the qualities and the waves are numerically one single thing and not two—as they would be if the waves were the cause of the qualities. Sensible qualities are real in perception; they are the perceptive reality of what cosmically exceeds them. If the sensible qualities had no reality, or if this reality were numerically distinct from that of the cosmos, then science would be a mere system of concepts but not a knowledge of the real. If one maintains that sensible qualities are produced with respect to their content by the receptors themselves, they would not stop being thereby just an actualization of that real product. But in fact this conceptualization is a pure metaphysical construct and not a fact.

One will then ask how waves, for example—that is, reality beyond perception—can give rise to a real immediately perceived quality in perception. To which I respond that this a problem for science, and that science, as I indicated, has sidestepped it. And this is the scandal of our present-day knowledge.


The perceived real, then, is what bears us inexorably to the real beyond perception; the real beyond perception has no more justification than the real perceived.

c) This means that in directionally apprehended reality what is de suyo is converted into a problem for us. Not the problem that something is de suyo, but the problem of what the structure is of what is de suyo. Sensible qualities, despite being real in perception, and despite {188} inexorably leading us beyond what is perceived, can be abolished beyond the perceived precisely to be able to be an explanation of what is perceived. Elementary particles, atoms, waves, etc. not only are not perceived by themselves in fact, but are by nature not sentiently apprehendable or visualizable, as the physicists have been saying for some years now. But they are, nonetheless, necessary for what we formally do perceive. This necessity is described in contemporary physics through rigorous unified mathematical structures which overcome the visual dualism of wave and particle. According to these unified structures, elementary particles can behave as particles in their creation and absorption, and as waves in their propagation. Quantum mechanics is the unified mathematical formulation of this non-visualizable reality of the particles. And thus science is not just an explanation of what is perceived, but an explanation of the whole reality of the cosmos; that is the enormous task of the concepts, laws, and theories of science.